Had TIME magazine done a piece on "Mother of the Year," April the giraffe would have made it to the cover.
The 15-year-old adorable long neck certainly deserves the accolade.
For months, April the giraffe grabbed headlines and influenced news — for better. Not only was April the face of giraffes worldwide, but she also played an active role in instilling hope for animals in the wild.
April the giraffe rose to stardom in February when Animal Adventure Park installed a live cam at her barn. The live video on Youtube was a massive hit, garnering millions of views.
Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure Park, attributes the idea of the giraffe cam to those who visited the park.
"The giraffe cam was installed as a way for park guests that were asking about April's pregnancy to keep tabs on her. It went viral from there," he told The Inquisitr.
Besides people from the U.S, viewers also logged in from UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, and Asia to watch April the giraffe, who was 13 months pregnant then.
At one point,' April the giraffe live stream' topped as the trending search query on Google.
People who were initially glued to U.S politics and TV shows started shifting their attention to April and her unborn calf.
Facebook communities dedicated to April the giraffe were formed. There were growing speculations about the date of calf's birth—which went on for months.
During this hiatus, people got to know April better. They found that April was extremely prolific in a way she inspired many who watched her.
Songs were written about her, artworks were dedicated to April. In short, she was a muse to many.
Nonchalantly chewing hay and carrots in front of the camera, she provided comfort and calm to people — both young and old — suffering from anxiety and depression.
Her interaction with Animal Adventure Park zookeepers, Alyssa and Corey, drew a lot of interest. People began to understand giraffes better and the need to conserve them. Although several zoos started showing live feeds and giraffe-related videos, April continued to remain the top favorite.
"Many zoos have live feeds on animals. What made this one so unique was watching the interaction with the keepers, the friendships that formed over the internet, the inclusion in the naming of the calf, and a positive, uplifting viewing event (who doesn't celebrate a birth) people so desperately needed at this time. All these elements came together in a perfect combination in this time and place to make this a truly special experience," said Vicki Burke, teacher at Beach Elementary School, who was instrumental in bringing out the book, "April's Baby."After the birth of Tajiri, people are beginning to see the motherly side of April. The interaction between Tajiri and April has been educative as well as entertaining.April, The Animal Ambassador
Jordan Patch said that managing April the giraffe was no different from managing a star.
"It's like managing a fan base similar to that of a celebrity. April certainly became the face of giraffes worldwide," Patch said.
Animal Adventure Park's initiative offered knowledge that one wouldn't get in a classroom.
"Regardless of your stance on captive management programs and the role they play, you cannot deny that millions have been educated, and that's a win for the animals," Patch said.
Patch has promised that the park is designing more interactive experiences that viewers will enjoy.
"More cameras will come. To continue to educate, we envision different species cams, on rotational basis, educating the public on the featured animals and their conservation needs. To some, we will become a 'virtual zoo.' They may never travel here, but will gain the many positive effects of our efforts, and we will engage them with our mission of education through interaction," he said.
[Featured Image by Animal Adventure Park]